‘Take another shot of courage … ‘  Always refer to Tequila Sunrise in times of  despondency; that’s the Eagles’ version not the alcohol alternative although, quite honestly, one could be forgiven for taking it literally!  Awaking to driving wind this morning, – as has become the norm – and after checking the roof was still intact as was the ancient Silver Birch tree which dominates the garden and, quite frankly, could take much of the house down, I decided to strip the beds and milk God’s drying facility.  Well, that prompted a comedy sketch as, of course, driving rain and hail wiped the smug look off my face as soon as I returned indoors followed by blue skies and sun, once more, just long enough after I had removed all from the line …  Does anybody care?  I suspect not but I think we are all subject to these days when one can all but hear a hollow laugh from on high.  The weather – as I predicted following our recent February summer – has been utterly miserable if not downright destructive.  Bitterly cold, the driving rain necessitates an umbrella but the accompanying galeforce wind ensures immediate defeat.  Venturing to Glasgow on Tuesday – a joyous train journey deserving of further comment, as one can imagine – we had an exhilarating evening in the company of Ben Fogle as he spoke for more than two hours about his life with accompanying film footage.  Inspirational in the true sense of the word, yet wonderfully humble, he received a deserved standing ovation.  We met him afterwards, as he signed books and programmes in the foyer, and the burning question I was tempted to ask him was whether he could be cloned? Honestly!  The word is perfect.  Worthy of the phrase ‘a real man’, he embodies courage and determination whilst being kind, sensitive and, seemingly, completely devoid of conceit.  A confirmed animal lover, I believe he even met his wife while walking his dog …  See what I mean!

Anyway – that’s a long paragraph – back to the point which was the glaring irony, nay hilarity, in this guy who can cite conquering Everest among his many triumphs asking us if we had travelled a long way to see him!  Well, me being me, I embellished our horrific journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow followed by our courageous struggle through the wind and rain – claiming my beloved Wimbledon brolly – to get from the station to the theatre before recognizing that he may have climbed the highest mountain in the world but …  What was wrong with the Usher Hall in Edinburgh?  Even more ridiculous, he repeatedly told us to have a safe journey home as we departed!  Ah, it’s the little things …

The news today is dominated by the terrorist attack in New Zealand claiming 49 lives so far.  It seems there is no refuge even in the furthest corners of the globe.  The world is a scary place.  Suffice to say, the increasingly incendiary subject of Brexit has been relegated as the game of chess sees no let up and the in-fighting continues.  A complete and utter mess littered with agendas and it is just all too much.  So …  ignoring the doom and gloom, change of subject completely!

I had an appointment with my optometrist yesterday and, as ever, it was an hour I would happily repeat daily!  David and his wife, Dorothy, have been friends for years since David answered an advert for a spare room in our flat in 1982 – yes, all of 37 years ago.  Always a character, he and Dorothy are passionate about and experts in their field but I laugh when I remember back to the occasion when, still a student, he asked if I would be his guinea pig with regard to some new instrument/piece of equipment he had acquired.  Of course.  Nothing to fear …  until, quite seriously, he informed me that it appeared that I had a nerve blockage to the brain!  As I said, an expert in his field.

It was David who issued me with my first pair of reading glasses and the fun we had in choosing the frames is second to none!  As a little girl, I was always desperate for glasses (perfectly normal?) so much so that my mother found me an old pair and removed the lenses.   Happy as Larry, they were the perfect accessory to my poker-straight-within-an-inch-of-its-life fringe and bunches – such a pity there are no photographs of that particular look!   Now here I was, all these years later, legitimately choosing my very own frames and who would have guessed the hilarity in that?  I remember David and I in fits as we endeavoured to match said frames to my hair and eye colour – on a good day – so much so that I have always relished my subsequent appointments, yesterday being one.

Always a technology addict, the equipment in his consulting room is worthy of respect enabling a thorough analysis of one’s eyesight and the inevitable deterioration – or not.  My distance vision is superb which, as I told him, is obviously a plus when it comes to stalkers!  Then there is my peripheral vision – also a plus.  In fact, enthusiastic as ever, David was full of praise for not only the quality of my eyesight but the condition of my eyes (which, Becca, he concluded were green!).  Obviously, there is a lot to be said for the early training I awarded myself in childhood but, moreover, we concluded that it was down to my stress-free life – and how we laughed at that!  There is just no substitute for laughter and old friends.  How I wish said ingredients could be bottled.

Chauffeuring Becca down George Street last Saturday, she spotted Gok Wan – or was it?  Driving round once more, I was inclined to agree so pulled up and out she got – chip off the old block!  You know, I defy anyone who denies the thrill of meeting someone famous in person.  Always exciting, it could go either way but there is nothing to lose:  if the whole situation turns out to be excruciatingly embarrassing due to the fact that said famous person turns out to be horrific, who cares?  Chances of seeing he/she again?  Zero.  On the other hand …  I have a wealth of stories to tell apropos meeting celebrities and not one do I regret.  Often enlightening, they weave a wonderful tapestry.  Just people, after all, my absolute hero became a lifelong friend.  How lucky am I?  As for Gok Wan, he was delightful.  Polite and friendly, I suggested that we could do with some styling …  “Next time’, was his reply.  Not quite the answer I expected!

Robin Williams was someone I would love to have met.  A multi-faceted genius, he had his demons, the public persona denying the reality which eventually led him to take his own life.  I caught the end of a moving documentary the other night – Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.  Sky Arts.  Accompanying old footage, much was told in his own words and in those of his family and friends.  The final clip, however, was perfect; his poignant words proving a window to his soul:

‘You’re only given a little spark of madness and, if you lose that, you’re nothing.  No … from me to you.  Don’t ever lose that ‘cause it keeps you alive.’

Amen to that.

This is Trish, signing off.